DPMM FC coach Steve Kean. Picture: BT File
DPMM FC are unfazed by their next challenge and are looking to break tradition.
Brunei's only professional football team are gunning for their first win against three-time defending champions Tampines Rovers in the Singapore League (S-League) today at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
DPMM FC have never beaten the stags after recording two draws and two losses in their four meetings.
The top of the table clash - with both teams levelled on nine points with three consecutive wins - will be the biggest test for DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean thus far.
The former Blackburn Rovers manager believes that they have a strong chance on claiming their first victory over the Stags.
"The expectations for us are the same for every game. We think we are going to be in a position where we can go on to win this game," said Kean in an interview during a training session yesterday at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
"What everybody sees is that we have progressively gotten better.
"Now we are up against a very good opponent which we will give a lot of respect to, but it is on our home ground," added Kean.
"We expect to continue our progress and development of the team. We expect a very good game and hope to win," he continued.
More impressively is that DPMM FC have kept cleansheets in their opening three triumphs over Balestier Khalsa, Warriors FC and Home United.
Goalkeeper Wardun Yussof had previously said that they can win the game as long as they keep a cleansheet and his head coach agrees.
"Yes, I do. I believe we have got enough attacking players on our side which will look us over to create chances and score goals," said Kean.
"My biggest focus from preseason until now is to be defensively compact and really determined.
"Not just Wardun and defenders but everybody when we lose the ball.
"We put pressure high up the pitch that has kept the ball away from goal for longer periods of time," added the Scot.
Tampines are coming off a 3-1 victory over Indian side Pune FC in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Wednesday.
Kean felt that the match is a double edged sword for Tampines.
"They got a great result on Wednesday and I think that will give them a lot of confidence on the positive side," said Kean.
"On the negative side, it is their second game of the week. No doubt that would take a lot out of them," he added.
"We are looking to play at a high tempo and dictate pace of game. Confidence is good but we have to be careful not to be over. We are at the right level at the moment," continued Kean.
Forward Roy O'Donovan is also in confident mood and is looking to get on the scoresheet again after opening his account with two goals against Home United.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow (Sunday). It should be a great occasion. This is a good test for the evolving DPMM FC team against an experienced Tampines team," said O'Donovan.
"Experience is as good as youth and speed. There will be two differing styles and hopefully football is the winner," added the former Sunderland striker.
His partner upfront, Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi, has found the back of the net in all the matches and is hoping to keep his form.
"I hope I can keep on scoring as I want to help the team in any way. Most important is the victory. It doesn't matter who scores Roy or anyone else. even Wardun," said Tosi.
"I remember our last match (where DPMM FC were thrashed 6-2 at home back in August) and I want to erase it from my mind. That is from the past year and now we're a new team with a different mentality," he added.
"We're confident. Football is crazy and anything can happen. Both are good teams but we're looking to getting a win at home," continued the Brazilian.
Tampines head coach Salim Moin is hoping to get a positive result out of the encounter and will be banking on striker Miljan Mrdakovic, the current league topscorer with four to his name, to lift the team.
"We're hoping for a good result. DPMM FC are in a good situation, having won three in a row under their new coach," said Salim.
"I have watched them. They showed team unity and are working as a unit.
"We have just completed a hectic schedule and are coming off a tough game (against Pune FC).
"The resting period is inadequate as we played on an artificial pitch. It normally takes 2-3 days to recover," added the Stags coach
"Right now he (Mrdakovic) has got good confidence and hopefully he will continue to score. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be exciting," he concluded. Kickoff is at 8.15pm.